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Newbie needs help...Advantage/Disadvantage of Hybrid Bike

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Newbie needs help...Advantage/Disadvantage of Hybrid Bike

Old 05-20-10, 05:43 AM
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Newbie needs help...Advantage/Disadvantage of Hybrid Bike

I'm in the market for a bike and had narrowed it down between a mountain bike and comfort bike (leaning more towards the comfort bike). Then I came across a couple of really nice looking 21 Speed Schwinn Hybrid bikes. One of the Hybrids has fenders (good for all weather trips) and a rear bike rack. What are some of the "main" advantages/disadvantages of a Hybrid bike?

Bike will be used for excersie and running errands around town. I weigh approximately 230lbs (but shrinking) .
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Old 05-20-10, 06:22 AM
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I'm no expert, but let me tell you my experience from jumping back into cycling last year at 340 lbs. I had a mountain bike, so I began using that for short rides but quickly decided I wanted to be a little faster and have better tires for street and cement path surfaces. I bought a Trek 7.2FX hybrid and began commuting to work, and then added a road bike later when I began riding 30+ miles in a ride.

I don't really see any disadvantages to a hybrid over a mountain bike. Advantages of the hybrid are it handles better on the paths and streets, although you can probably fix some of that with slicks on the mountain bike. My hybrid has the braze-ons for connecting racks front and rear. I use a pannier rack in back for carrying stuff. I think either works fine, but if price is about the same and you won't riding much off-road stuff, I think the hybrid has a slight edge over the mountain bike. I love the hybrid.
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Old 05-20-10, 06:26 AM
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Well, that all depends. Which bikes were you looking at specifically? Hybrid is sort of a generic term, some are basically road bikes with flat handle bars like the Trek FX, others are more like comfort bikes but have the title hybrid slapped on them. If you could, provide us links to the bikes you have in mind and we can give you better advice!
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Old 05-20-10, 07:25 AM
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I'm no expert as I've only ridden hybrids rarely, but here are my thoughts. They could be wrong.

Advantages:
Upright position
Comfortable for new riders unaccustomed to bent-over position of road-bikes
Cheap(er)

Disadvantages:
Inefficient frame
Uncomfortable for long(er) distances
Cheap components/wheels/saddle
Heavy bike
Rolling resistance of wider tires
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Old 05-20-10, 08:12 AM
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I started out on a hybrid , was mainly using it to comute to the gym at first but its seen some longer rides .
Personally i liked the hybrid , still have a hybrid which i use every now and then
one of the big advantages for me is that it is fast enough for the streets and yet can still take me places that my road bike cant handle .
The gearing also goes lower than my road bike so it can really take me up them steep hills i might otherwise suffer on with my road machine

good hybrids usually come with plenty of options to mount racks mudguards etc which might be usefull if you plan to run errands like you said or use it it commute
The dsiadvantages are that the upright seating position could become uncomfortable on longer rides ,

Some may say that hybrids are heavier and are more inefficient and so this is a disadvantage , i look at it this way , surely if your trying to loose weight then you want your workout to be inefficient , and the heavier bike offers more resitance meaning better workout
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Old 05-20-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bautieri
If you could, provide us links to the bikes you have in mind and we can give you better advice!
Here are links to the Bikes I've been considering:
700C Men's Schwinn Solitaire Hybrid Bike
https://www.walmart.com/ip/700C-Men-s...-Bike/13398140

700c Men's Schwinn Avenue Hybrid Bike (Please comment about the Gear Shift Mechanism on this one)
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Me...d-Bike/8399247

26'' Men's Schwinn Link Comfort Bike
https://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Men-s-S...-Bike/13398151

26" Men Schwinn Sidewinder Bicycle
https://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Men-Sch...cycle/11089191
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Old 05-20-10, 08:22 AM
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'Hybrid' generally just refers to bikes with flat handlebars and 700C wheels... unless the bike is specifically designed for off-road rough trail riding, when they are usually called a '29er.'

As mentioned above, there is a full spectrum from low end inneficient heavy 'comfort' bikes to flat bar road bikes.

Almost all hybrids can easily be fitted with a rack and fenders so buying a hybrid just beause it comes equipped with them from the factory is not really a good idea... certainly not if that is the only feature of the bike.

Advantages: Can be used with narrow high pressure fast tires or wider low pressure comfortable tires or more knobby off road tires depending on where you plan to ride; very high quality as well as very affordable models available.

Disadvantages: Highly variable quality and impossible to tell what the intended use of the bike is just by knowing it is a 'hybrid;' suspension models almost always have the crappiest suspension forks available and will offer little or nothing to your comfort


Edit:

Do not buy a bike at walmart.

They do not know how to assemble them, there are serious comprimises in the design and components to fit them into the 'price-dropper' (or whatever) marketplace; the models you linked look like peices of junk. If you are a clyde and actually intend to ride the bikes then you will find they start breaking down really quick, and walmart cannot help you with this like a bike shop can. Proper assembly and some free service after the sale are included in the price of a bike shop bike... not so with walmart.

Do not buy a bike at walmart.

Last edited by LarDasse74; 05-20-10 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Do not buy a bike at walmart.
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Old 05-20-10, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74
'Hybrid' generally just refers to bikes with flat handlebars and 700C wheels... unless the bike is specifically designed for off-road rough trail riding, when they are usually called a '29er.'

As mentioned above, there is a full spectrum from low end inneficient heavy 'comfort' bikes to flat bar road bikes.

Almost all hybrids can easily be fitted with a rack and fenders so buying a hybrid just beause it comes equipped with them from the factory is not really a good idea... certainly not if that is the only feature of the bike.

Advantages: Can be used with narrow high pressure fast tires or wider low pressure comfortable tires or more knobby off road tires depending on where you plan to ride; very high quality as well as very affordable models available.

Disadvantages: Highly variable quality and impossible to tell what the intended use of the bike is just by knowing it is a 'hybrid;' suspension models almost always have the crappiest suspension forks available and will offer little or nothing to your comfort


Edit:

Do not buy a bike at walmart.

They do not know how to assemble them, there are serious comprimises in the design and components to fit them into the 'price-dropper' (or whatever) marketplace; the models you linked look like peices of junk. If you are a clyde and actually intend to ride the bikes then you will find they start breaking down really quick, and walmart cannot help you with this like a bike shop can. Proper assembly and some free service after the sale are included in the price of a bike shop bike... not so with walmart.

Do not buy a bike at walmart.

This cannot be stressed enough. I started out with a Schwinn Ranger that I bought at Target for about $200. I had looked at a few bike shops and entry level bikes were almost twice that much. I figured "a bike's a bike". What a mistake. After about 800 miles it wasn't shifting properly and the bottom bracket was shot.

I ended up buying a Trek 7300 hybrid from a LBS that offered free routine maintenance for a year. After a year (and about 1500 miles) with a few minor adjustments the Trek was still like new. I only stopped riding it when I bought a road bike.
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Old 05-20-10, 10:37 AM
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I started riding again last year after more than 25 years of not riding. I was fortunate to get this bike at a local garage sale:



And I started riding again. I think this was a good bike for me to start with, because:

1) The riding position is comfortable
2) The gearing (triple on the front)

I think if I had started with what I nearly purchased-- a cheapo $300 full-suspension mountain bike from Costco-- or a road bike, I would have given up. The mountain bike would have been a poor choice for a number of reasons, and the road bike would have been too uncomfortable at the time. Now, I ride a road bike and my Peugeot, but I had to work my way up to the road bike, like many here.
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Old 05-20-10, 11:16 AM
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I understand the want to buy a walmart bike, but they're not worth the money, or maybe they are worth the money, but that amount of money just doesn't buy a good new bicycle. I started back into riding just a couple of years ago and scoffed at the people warning me against the department store bicycles. I figured they were just bike snobs and all that 'advice' was silly eliteist nonsense. I did ask around and instead of buying one, I ended up with a Huffy Mtn Bike from freecycle. It was fun to ride at first, but then a struggle to deal with. I haven't ridden it in over a year and I'll be giving it away in a couple of weeks. This is what I would suggest, ask around (family/friends/work/freecycle www.freecycle.org/ or craigslist) to see if anyone has a bike they want to get rid of on the cheap, just something to get you riding, then save your money for a better bike. If you're handy like me, you might gather a few cheap bikes and then start to assemble the best bike available from the pile of parts. Good luck, let us know what you get.
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Old 05-20-10, 11:50 AM
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It's usually pretty tough to convince someone to drop the amount of money required to purchase a nice entry to mid level bicycle from the bike shop. I'm sure that right now you are reading these posts from people telling you to avoid box store bikes at all costs and thinking that a bike is a bike. It's not the case but some things you have to learn on your own. Rather than beat you over the head with many reasons why you should avoid all those bikes you listed, I humbly suggest that you go to wal-mart and test ride them up and down the isles. Get a feel for the frame material and the general functionality of the bicycle. Next, go to a bicycle shop. Speak with a shop employee, tell them your needs and wants, then test ride the bicycles they suggest. Compare the feeling you get from the bike shop bike and the wal-mart bike. If you can't tell a difference, buy the wal-mart bike...but keep this in mind. If you decide to stick with bicycling you're going to end up buying that bike shop bike anyways. Might as well buy the bike upfront and be happy with it. Either way, buy the bike that works best for you. Ride it and be safe, post back often.

Happy riding!
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Old 05-20-10, 12:32 PM
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You'd be surprised what inexpensive goodies a bike shop has in stock from last year or even this year that the store will sell you for under $500. My lbs directed me away from the coaster brake cruiser style bikes to the comfort city bikes because I wanted to commute to work and do errands on it. My KHS Town and Country has all the braze ons for fenders and racks and they were not available on the cruiser bike. A lot of people poo-poo hybrids because they are the awkward step children of fashion models and sports stars in the bike world. Basically you have to put a bit more effort into getting the bike to go fast and make it fit you. I've changed the saddles a few times, changed the handlebar angles, and swapped out hand grips to make the bike suit me.

The thing with an lbs rather than Walmart-Target-Cosco-toy store is the service the bike store provides you. Most give you a break in period that allows you to bring the bike back in for a tune up. Free check ups. A discount on accessories. Real world advice about saddle/handlebar/wheel changes as well as provides repairs when something goes awry. These services aren't provided by the big box stores because they are just not set up that way. Also, bike stores usually let you try the bikes out around the block but Walmart won't (ok, odds are Walmart will let you buy the bike then return it, but what a pain).
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Old 05-20-10, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BigPolishJimmy
I started back into riding just a couple of years ago and scoffed at the people warning me against the department store bicycles. I figured they were just bike snobs and all that 'advice' was silly eliteist nonsense.
I can understand people who are really into a particular activity wanting the best they can afford, however for someone who's not sure they will feel the same as the enthusiasts, it can be a bit much to expect them to spend $600+ for something that may end up sitting in the garage rusting out. I look at it this way, if you have a kid who wants to TRY piano lessons, I don't think many people would go out and buy a $50 THOUSAND Grand Piano (even though the sound quality of this piano will be far superior to a cheaper one) and a couple of months later the kid decides piano just isn't their thing. What's wrong with starting out with a less expensive piano, and if you see the kid is really into it and developing into a virtuosso then I can see getting a much better quality piano.

I do appreciate all the advice and would have liked to have gotten feedback as to which of the bikes I listed "may" be a better buy.
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Old 05-20-10, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by AceH
I can understand people who are really into a particular activity wanting the best they can afford, however for someone who's not sure they will feel the same as the enthusiasts, it can be a bit much to expect them to spend $600+ for something that may end up sitting in the garage rusting out. I look at it this way, if you have a kid who wants to TRY piano lessons, I don't think many people would go out and buy a $50 THOUSAND Grand Piano (even though the sound quality of this piano will be far superior to a cheaper one) and a couple of months later the kid decides piano just isn't their thing. What's wrong with starting out with a less expensive piano, and if you see the kid is really into it and developing into a virtuosso then I can see getting a much better quality piano.
Nothing. But you wouldn't buy the kid a cardboard box that had a couple wires stretched across it, "Piano" stenciled on the side, either. You'll find many people around here who call bikes sold at places like Wal-Mart "bike shaped objects". There's a reason for that. They're utter junk. If all you're going to do is ride it in the park, while following a fiver year old around, then it might be okay. But if you're actually going to ride it, it'll break. Actually, it'll come pre-broken, but that's because wal-mart hasn't yet lost a substantial lawsuit about their inability to assemble bikes, and lets people who don't know a damn thing put them together. (I've seen bikes from walmart with the fork installed backwards!) Go to some real bike stores. Talk to them. Tell them what you can afford to spend. You'll be much, much happier. And you won't spend much more.
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Old 05-20-10, 01:20 PM
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Ace,

Here's my suggestion. Pass on the Department store rejects because they are more dangerous than useful. They are assembled by the stockperson from the garden department who has no idea what a properly tuned bike is let alone looks like. The bikes are very low quality and will not last long under normal use, let alone us clydes. There are many horror stories of part failures causing serious accidents all over these forums.

Take the time to research and save up funds and then hit the local bike shops for used bikes, garage and yard sales, and maybe even craigs list and find one that will get the job done inside of your budget. It may take a month or so, but you might even be able to tack on another $100 to your budget.
Even Ebite may be an option.

Just my thoughts. Good luck and let us know how you do.

Karma
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Old 05-20-10, 01:33 PM
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This is strictly an example and not a bike recommendation.
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...t=#post7648249

It took me 2 weeks to find the right one, but I still have that bike and it has done many many miles without a problem. And alot cheaper than a Wally World bike.

I'm not trying to preach, I'm just trying to help you make a good choice with all the facts you can get.

Good luck.
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Old 05-20-10, 03:42 PM
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If you absolutly insist on a bicycle from wal-mart, get this one: https://www.walmart.com/ip/700C-GMC-D...-Bike/12080282

That is a road style bicycle so it's not exactly a comfort bike like you listed, but the frame geometry is far from aggressive. Search the commuting forums for a posters review of the GMC Denali. It was very lengthy with the final outcome being that it's not a bad bike if you can take care of it yourself. The problem with the bicycles you picked out is that they have very, very cheap suspension forks on them. They will be very inefficient. You will bottom them out constantly, the bob will sap you of forward momentum, and they are heavy. "Decent" forks start in the range of $400 for the fork alone. Thus you should go for a bike with a solid fork. It will be faster!

Honestly, call around some bike shops if you live in an area where with some. See if they have any used bikes, they are probably more affordable than you think.
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Old 05-20-10, 05:04 PM
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Personally i dont want to echo what everyone else has said but bikes from walmart just wont be up to the quality fpr anything more than couple of mile rides in the park , even for a normal rider they are no good let alone us clydes
If you want a bike at a decent price check out ebay for bikes in your area , that way you can go and pick it up
I was going to get a bike from the Uk eqivalent of walmart till i did a bit of research decided to get on ebay and scope out hybrids in my area ,a few weeks and $60 later i had my hybrid which is much cheaper than what walmart where selling them for , then spent the other money i saved getting the LBS to look at it and service it , and accessories . Only thing wrong with it was the front tyre was a bit worn on the bike i bought , the mechniic at the LBS said the back tyre was near brand new though so i just did a swap at first then a coupla hundred miles later when i decided riding was for me got a new set of slimmer tyres

This works out better because rather than bulding your bike yourself or worse yet the minimum wage guy at walmart building it for you , you can get a bike already built and then get the mechanics at the LBS to look at it for you . I dunno how your LBS is but my LBS wont build a bike from walmart and when a friend of mine took his walmart bike in with rear derailer problems they offered 2 soloutions , a new derailer and shifter made by an actual well known component manufacturer or having to adjust the new one every 50 miles , both rather expensive im sure youll agree
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Old 05-20-10, 06:23 PM
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Two things:

1. I bought a Trek 7.2 FX Hybrid, I loved it the second I rode it. My friend told me not to buy it, and buy a road bike. Two months later I have a road bike on layaway at the LBS.
2. Don't listen to anyone that posted here, (ducks and hides for cover) if you don't have the money to get a good bike and or you are not committed to riding, buy one of the bikes above and ride the bike, or check out Craigslist.org to see if you can get a good bike in your price range. To me, if you are on the Clydes board, and overweight, the first step is to commit to doing something. Buy the second bike, looks kind of like my Trek, and ride it. If it breaks in two, so be it. If you love riding, then go to the LBS and spend the money.

Just get out and ride!

Last edited by mdohertyjr; 05-20-10 at 06:26 PM. Reason: added an option
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Old 05-20-10, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by AceH
I can understand people who are really into a particular activity wanting the best they can afford, however for someone who's not sure they will feel the same as the enthusiasts, it can be a bit much to expect them to spend $600+ for something that may end up sitting in the garage rusting out. I look at it this way, if you have a kid who wants to TRY piano lessons, I don't think many people would go out and buy a $50 THOUSAND Grand Piano (even though the sound quality of this piano will be far superior to a cheaper one) and a couple of months later the kid decides piano just isn't their thing. What's wrong with starting out with a less expensive piano, and if you see the kid is really into it and developing into a virtuosso then I can see getting a much better quality piano.

I do appreciate all the advice and would have liked to have gotten feedback as to which of the bikes I listed "may" be a better buy.
If you are determined to ignore the advice of people who have "been there, done that" you would probably be better off with this one. I've used twist grip shifters, but almost universally, riders prefer the triggers.

Just understand that, even if the bike was assembled correctly (a major assumption), those wheels will bend/break spokes under the weight of a clyde if they are not properly tensioned. My guess is that the WalMart assembler isn't checking the spokes for tension (keep in mind that the guy assembling the bike has just finished putting together a gas grill, and when he's done with your bike he'll be screwing the wheels onto somebody's new lawn mower).

Also understand that as you ride a brand new bike, the individual strands of each of the control cables will "bed in", the strands getting closer together lengthens the effective length of the cables; the cables appear to stretch, which will lead to sloppy shifting, and poor braking. When you buy from a bike shop they will normally adjust the cables after a month or so of riding. When you buy from a department store you either adjust them yourself, or take the bike to a shop (which will not be in any hurry to work on an XMart Schwinn) and (when they do get around to your bike) will charge you 50 to 75 bucks to do the adjustment, and another 50 to rebuild your back wheel.
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Old 05-20-10, 09:13 PM
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Oh, yeh...you won't need to spend $600 bucks at an LBS to get a real bike.

Here's a better bike than the ones you're looking at for under $400.

Here's another for not much more than a big box store bike after adding in the adjustments and the wheels.
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Old 05-20-10, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AceH
I can understand people who are really into a particular activity wanting the best they can afford, however for someone who's not sure they will feel the same as the enthusiasts, it can be a bit much to expect them to spend $600+ for something that may end up sitting in the garage rusting out. I look at it this way, if you have a kid who wants to TRY piano lessons, I don't think many people would go out and buy a $50 THOUSAND Grand Piano (even though the sound quality of this piano will be far superior to a cheaper one) and a couple of months later the kid decides piano just isn't their thing. What's wrong with starting out with a less expensive piano, and if you see the kid is really into it and developing into a virtuosso then I can see getting a much better quality piano.

I do appreciate all the advice and would have liked to have gotten feedback as to which of the bikes I listed "may" be a better buy.
Good point Ace, everyone here knows that they like riding bikes and that they are going to put many miles on whatever they ride. You on the other hand think you might like riding and don't want to go overboard on your first purchase because you may end up not liking it as much as you thought.

As to the economics, the wally world bikes are cheap for a reason, they are made of the cheapest materials and have the cheapest components and are assembled in the back room by a kid who maybe got a C+ in auto shop.
If you do decide that you like riding and rack up some miles on one of those bikes, it's going to break, not "it might break" it is going to break. At that point it is money down the drain since it is not economically feasible to repair a bike which wasn't worth much to begin with.
OTOH if you bite the bullet and get a decent bike from a bike shop you will be all set if you keep riding and if you don't you can sell it and possibly be out less money than if you scrapped the wallyworld special.
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Old 05-21-10, 11:22 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Laserman
... At that point it is money down the drain since it is not economically feasible to repair a bike which wasn't worth much to begin with.
OTOH if you bite the bullet and get a decent bike from a bike shop you will be all set if you keep riding and if you don't you can sell it and possibly be out less money than if you scrapped the wallyworld special.
This is exaclty what I was thinking... if you use the bike a handfull of times and don't like it, you can sell it for a few hundred bucks and only be out a little. If you buy a $250 badly assebled bike shaped object from MegaLo Mart, and you don't like it, it rots in your garage for ever... or you do like it and you quickly realize it was a waste of $250 bucks because it is falling apart after a few months and it costs more than the purchase price to repair.

Call around to bike shops and aske where their prices start at - you might be surprised... most places I have worked have more than one bike for less than $300 and that includes proper fitting, assembling, and a service warranty.
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Old 05-21-10, 11:39 AM
  #24  
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You guys crack me up with names like "MegaLo Mart" and "wallyworld special".
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Old 05-21-10, 01:54 PM
  #25  
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I'll chime in here, and this is going to get long-winded, but I hope it will help.

I have Target's equivalent of the the Avenue Hybrid you linked to. I got it last year b/c I thought it was all I could afford at the time. In terms of new bikes, it pretty much was. I knew and understood the logic behind the no X-Mart bikes philosophy. I even agreed with it and had previously owned a Trek hyrbid from an LBS (later stolen). However, my finances were really tight at the time, and I thought (wrongly) that new from Target would be better than used from Craigslist. All of that is to say that I totally understand where you're coming from, Ace, and the pull to buy a new bike from X-Mart for a low price can seem attractive.

Here's been my experience with that bike. Since I bought it last year, I have ridden it over 3,000 miles. I commute daily and plan on doing some overnight touring this summer. This bike has gotten me into cycling in a big way, and I'm glad that it has.

Looking back on, though, I wish I had gone another route. Things I don't like (and other general thoughts) about the bike:

Wheels: The stock wheels on this bike are $hit. As a fellow clyde (I started on this bike at over 300 lbs.), I can tell you they won't last more than a couple months, if you're lucky. I had less than 200 miles on the bike when I broke my first spoke on the rear wheel. Got the spoke replaced and the wheel retrued and retensioned at an LBS, and I broke another spoke that very same day. They wheels are of crappy quality and have too few spokes (for a clyde). Long story short, I spent $200 on wheel repairs and replacements before finally arriving at my current solution. If you insist on getting this bike, be ready to spend $100+ for a new rear wheel pretty soon. (In my case, add the $200 I spent on wheels to the price of the bike and I could have just gone and gotten a bike from the local bike shop for $400 and probably not had the headaches I had with these wheels.)

Shifters (since you asked): I like the shifters on this bike. The EZ trigger shifting is easy to use and is actual Shimano components, not some no-name POS like on other bikes. Derailleurs (front and rear) are Shimano brand, too. Basic, entry level Shimano, but they've worked for me so far for 3,000 miles (knock on wood). You may, like me, get to learn how to adjust your derailleurs very soon after buying the bike, though. As set up by the Target builder, the shifting sucked.

Fork:The cheap suspension fork sucks. I fell for the "it's a more comfortable ride" hype when doing my research last year. I ride almost exclusively on roads and paved trails. I don't need suspension, and it is true that it saps power from your pedaling. This suspension fork cannot be locked, so it's always in suspension mode. I have two major projects left on my current to-do list to make the bike work for me. One of these is to replace the suspension fork w/ a rigid, suspension-corrected one. (More $ that will have been spent on top of purchase price of bike.)

Other components/Random thoughts: One of the resin pedals started to disintegrate on me a month ago. I replaced w/ alloy. I think the bottom bracket is also probably in need of replacement soon as well.

I'm trying to be objective here and just give you my experience. Your experience could be different - maybe better, maybe worse. I've had to tinker with my bike a lot, especially in the wheels department, to get something that I'm happier with. Wheels are ALWAYS the biggest concern for us clydes in the bike department.

The frame itself is solid. If it's like mine, it's got eyelets on the rear for both fenders and a rack, and the front fork, crappy as it is for its suspension, has an eyelet, too, for a front fender.

Having said all of that, I'd go with one of Zoste's recommendations if you want brand new - preferably the Trek. (One other issue w/ X-Mart bikes can be size. You'll notice the Trek hybrid comes in 5 different frame sizes. There's a reason for that. No one size bike is going to fit everyone, and a comfortable fit can make a big difference. I'm sure my bike doesn't quite fit me as well as another frame could.)

May I also make one other suggestion for a possible source of bikes? See if there's a bike co-op in you area that sells used/refurbished bikes. Takes some of the guess work out of a Craigslist purchase but allows you to go the used route and get a decent bike for not a lot of $$$...
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